Canadian manufacturers, exporters more upbeat: study

Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:24pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian manufacturers and exporters are slightly more optimistic that economic conditions have started to improve, and some are getting set to increase their workforce, a study showed on Wednesday.

The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters' business conditions survey for June showed 51 percent of companies saw orders fall in value, an improvement from 57 percent in May.

Also, 69 percent of the companies surveyed said they expect the value of new orders to stay the same or increase over the next three months, up from 66 percent in May.

"This sentiment is a little surprising considering the wild roller-coaster ride manufacturers and exporters had in June, courtesy of a volatile currency," the survey said.

Earlier in June the Canadian dollar soared to C$1.0784 to the U.S. dollar, or 92.73 U.S. cents, which marked its highest level since October and was 21 percent above the four-year low it hit in March.

A higher Canadian dollar makes the country's exports less competitive in foreign markets as they become more expensive.

And, after reducing their workforces as Canada's economy fell into recession earlier this year, 13 percent of the companies said they expect to increase employment in the next three months.

The number companies that still expect layoffs fell to 27 percent from 38 percent.

The study included 608 companies surveyed during the first three weeks of June.

($1=$1.15 Canadian)

(Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Rob Wilson)